I briefly played Outward when it released on March 26th (my daughter’s B-day). I had planned to play it all the way through but ended up shelving it because I just wasn’t feeling it at the time. My wife and I recently sat down and play it for about 10 hours together and we were instantly hooked by this amazing world that ninedots has made.
Outward is an open world RPG with strong survival elements. The survival part had me questioning this game as soon as I bought it because I’m not a fan of the genre. I can count on one hand how many games I like in this genre. For the first few hours, we didn’t like this game. It wasn’t until we started making progress, collecting good loot, and setting off on an awesome exploration that we eventually started to love it. Outward does not ease you into the game. It can be overwhelming and that’s exactly what it was to us at first. Overwhelming. We didn’t know where to go or what to do. All we had was shitty gear, no money, and no guidance. All of that turned out to be one of the best parts of Outward.
This game gives you freedom from the very beginning. You don’t have to go through a long tutorial, save the world or anything ridiculous like that. You’re not the hero in this game. They make that perfectly clear to you when you start. You’re just trying to live and as you progress through the story you eventually get to join one of the three major factions in the game. You can choose to stay with the one you start the game with or move on to join some sort of holy order or free desert tribe. We haven’t decided which one we’re going with yet, but the fact that we get to choose is exciting. It reminds me of Elex (another excellent RPG) and that’s not a bad thing at all.
I don’t know about you, but having to eat, drink, and sleep in games has never been my cup of tea. That… oddly isn’t a very big deal here. Yes, you have to eat, sleep, and drink, but you don’t have to do it that often. The bar doesn’t decrease that fast and you can easily stay up for a few days before you have to sleep and sleeping is as easy as finding a bed and passing sometime. It’s like the Elder Scrolls when you sleep. You just sleep, the screen turns black and then you wake up.
The gameplay is very clunky, but even that grew on us after a while. Outward is not a AAA game and it definitely shows it, but it’s also really beautiful and addictive. We couldn’t stop playing this game when we started it. I went from a nobody with a wooden staff to a decently dressed wannabee warrior that has aspirations of doing magic one day. My wife is using a badass spear she looted off a tough bandit and together we’ve gotten pretty lucky and had our asses completely destroyed by a high-level bandit lieutenant and his oversized dog in steel armor that somehow didn’t lose any speed whatsoever.
Saying Outward is huge would be an understatement. This game is absolutely huge. We’re still in the starting zone and you can easily spend 50 hours just there doing random shit. Each zone is absolutely huge and is very different from one another. It’s not just one big forest or flat barren wasteland. There’s some of everything and I want to see it all, but I need to make sure I’m properly prepared for the journey because the weather plays a big part in this game too.
When it’s cold you’ll need to wear clothing that keeps you warm and vice versa when it’s hot. Going somewhere unprepared can literally kill you in this game and make no mistake about it you WILL die in this game. It’s not for the faint of heart. Playing in co-op does take some of that burden away though since you can revive your partner if they fall in battle or from one of the many traps in this game.
Outward is a very strong co-op RPG that I want to play all the way through. I even started to enjoy my alone time in the game, but it shines in co-op and I love the fact that this game has both online and local co-op. We played on our own PCs, but if we ever got this on the PS4 I could totally see us playing together on the big screen. After almost writing this game off and throwing it in in my humongous backlog I ended up falling in love with it and calling it one of the best co-op experiences I’ve ever had… and I want more. I can’t wait until we can play this game again.